The Pension Investment Academy, a joint venture between Specialist Pension Services Limited (SPS) and Westminster Business School, had another highly successful event on Tuesday 26 October.

University of Westminster flag

This time the Academy was on the subject of ‘Risk Management for Pensions Funds – What is the Latest Thinking?’. The speakers included Kevin Wesbroom, Managing Principal, UK Lead, Global Risk Services, Aon Hewitt, Roberto Rivero, Head of Market Development, Standard & Poor’s and David Millar, Investment Director, Multi-Asset Investing, Standard Life Investments.

Kevin Wesbroom’s talk was on the Latest Thoughts on Risk Management. Issues covered included assessing liability risk management options and dealing with longevity. An interesting example of the largest longevity swap for a UK pension scheme to date was discussed for BMW in 2010.

Roberto Rivero’s talk was concerned with Standard & Poor’s Ratings in particular issues concerning what are ratings and how they have performed. An interesting discussion on corporate transition rates was presented by region. The presentation then went on to discuss the relevance of credit ratings to pension funds and argued that credit ratings can help discuss and specify credit risk parameters of your portfolio with your fund managers and also help assess the relative credit risk of individual investments. Finally how particular credit ratings are arrived at was outlined. Given the recent sub-prime financial crisis this talk was very timely in informing pension fund trustees of the role of ratings.

Lastly David Millar gave a talk on how to successfully implement absolute return strategies.A number of post-graduate finance students attended the event and the evening closed with a reception that allowed the students to network with the leading figures from industry.

The Pension Investment Academy runs a programme of monthly evening seminars designed to enable both pension fund trustees, executives, postgraduate finance and research students keep up to date in the fast moving world of pension fund investment.

For information on the next PIA event please click here.

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